Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Let’s Talk on Thursday 6 April in The Edge

📥  Let's Talk

All staff are warmly invited to our next Let’s Talk all staff meeting on Thursday 6 April, at 11.15am, in The Edge.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, will be joined on stage by Professor Bernie Morley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost.

The event will provide an update on how we are implementing the University’s strategy, focussing in particular on:

  • our plans to boost PGT (Taught Postgraduate) student numbers and the development of new programmes and online courses to accelerate this
  • how we are engaging with our local community including the Festival on 6 May.

There will be the opportunity to ask any questions prompted by the presentation afterwards; and then we will open up to more general questions.

As usual, there will be refreshments in the foyer to continue discussions, and other senior managers will be on hand and pleased to chat about anything that you’d like to raise with them.

If you would like to submit a question in advance either on the topics we’ll be discussing or more general themes, please email it to lets-talk@bath.ac.uk, send it through the internal post addressed to the Vice-Chancellor’s Office or use the Let’s Talk post-box in the Claverton Rooms Foyer.

We look forward to seeing you in April.

 

Supporting our international staff

📥  Internationalisation, Messages

Dear Colleagues,

In the Prime Minister’s speech tomorrow, we are likely to hear more about the UK Government’s approach to negotiations on the UK leaving the European Union.

I know that many of you are concerned about the impact of the EU referendum and the effect it might have on you personally, or on your colleagues at the University. At our Let’s Talk meeting at the end of November, we discussed the implications of the EU referendum for our people, our strategy and the wider sector.

Supporting all of you through this momentous change is really important, so to follow on from the immigration advice sessions we ran last year we have now agreed to provide further support to our EU employees from outside the UK, and to those joining us from outside the EU.

We will be paying the fee for European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) staff who are eligible to apply for a Registration Certificate or Permanent Residence Card.

Furthermore, to maintain and enhance our ability to attract international candidates from outside the EU we will be providing an enhanced relocation allowance to eligible candidates. There is still some policy detail to be finalised, but I expect further information to be available in the coming weeks.

We have also joined #WeAreInternational to play our part in ensuring our universities remain diverse, inclusive communities open to students and staff from across the world.

Further updates and advice can be found on our website or from your line manager and the HR department.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

VC visits Computing Services

📥  Visits to departments

The Vice-Chancellor’s final visit of 2016 was hosted by Computing Services.

Accompanied by the Director, Andrew Lee, the visit started at the Help Desk in the Library, recently remodelled - with the help of our architecture students - to provide an up-to-date and welcoming space. Sherilyn Elmes, Service Manager, explained how the team dealt with an impressive 150 calls and online requests each day, assisting 2,000 people during induction alone.

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The VC with Andrew Lee, Director of Computing Services

Rob Hyde, Service Manager (AV), showed how the Audio Visual Unit helped students to access online learning, advising that 19% of campus-based lectures were now recorded, with significant expansion underway and further enhancements planned for the next academic year.

The visit continued in 4 East South, where approximately two thirds of Computing Services staff have been based since the building opened in the summer. Steven Chapman, High Performance Computer Manager, explained how his team works closely with researchers to understand their needs and assist with data analysis across disciplines. Mark Acres, IT Security Manager, showed Dame Glynis how information is safeguarded. There was also a demonstration of Skype for Business - a messaging, meetings and screen sharing platform which is being rolled out across the University.

Andrew Lee said: “The visit was a wonderful opportunity for the professional teams in Computing Services to demonstrate our significant achievements to date as well as showcase some of the new technologies we will introduce over the next year to help deliver the University’s strategy.”

Dame Glynis commented: "Computer systems are now fundamental to all that we do as staff and students of the University. I was impressed to see that Computing Services is focusing on ways to improve our experience and support our ambitions. Technology has advanced so much over the University’s first half century and it is reassuring to know that the Department is ready to support us as we embark on our next 50 years."

 

Christmas message from the VC

📥  Celebrating successes, Messages

As we approach the last few working days of 2016, I wanted to wish you well for the festive season.

It has been a particularly busy few months. Our 50th anniversary celebrations on 25 October were a real highlight and I’m grateful to everyone who made them such a success.

Casting our sights to 2017, our University of Bath Festival will be taking place on 6 May and I’m looking forward to welcoming the wider community on to campus to experience the best we have to offer in research, teaching, sport and the arts.

Next year will be an important one for our University and we will be forging ahead with the implementation of our Strategy, attracting more postgraduate students, increasing our research power, continuing to improve our infrastructure and forging stronger international partnerships.

In the meantime, I hope you have the opportunity to relax, enjoy your break and watch the Royal Institution’s 2016 Christmas Lectures which will be broadcast on BBC Four on 26, 27 and 28 December at 8pm.  It is an enormously prestigious lecture series with a rich heritage of scientific discovery and we are delighted that Professor Saiful Islam, from our Department of Chemistry, will present ‘Supercharged: Fuelling the Future’ this year.

My thanks to our entire community for all your hard work. I wish you and your families a very merry and peaceful Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

 

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

VC visits Sports Development & Recreation

📥  Visits to departments

On 2 November, just a week after the impressive rugby victory at The Rec which brought our 50th anniversary day celebrations to a fitting close, the Vice-Chancellor visited the Department of Sports Development & Recreation.

The Department has played a crucial role in building the University’s reputation as one of the leading centres in the UK for high performance sport, a reputation enhanced by the six Olympic and four Paralympic medals won in Rio by athletes based on campus.

Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport, guided Dame Glynis on a tour which took in all aspect of the Department’s activity including Training & Development, Physiotherapy & Sports Science, Facilities Sales, Reception and Operations.  There was an opportunity to view the 50th Anniversary timeline on the Sports Training Village concourse, and to hear about the sports development project in Zambia and the campaign to improve our British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) ranking.

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Dame Glynis views the 50th Anniversary timeline on the Sports Training Village concourse

Rachel Smith, Athlete Support Officer, an Olympian and Bath graduate, introduced two student athletes - Jan Gosiewski, who balances a Mechanical Engineering PhD with international judo, and Nick Bell, who was identified as a top level rower in the British Rowing’s Talent ID programme.

Barry Edwards, Physiotherapist, and Luke Vella, Strength & Conditioning Coach, demonstrated their multidisciplinary focus on injury prevention with the help of rower Nick, using a combination of manipulation and exercises to improve his range of movement and address muscle imbalances.

The VC watches as rower Nick, using a combination of manipulation and exercises to address muscle imbalances

The VC watches as rower Nick Bell is put through his paces to address muscle imbalances

Catherine Evans, Facilities Sales Manager, explained how the Facility Sales Team balances the competing demands of students, high performance athletes and community activities before team members showed Dame Glynis the booking system in action.

Dame Glynis said: “What you do is tremendous. You provide our students with the opportunity to pursue sport at the highest level but also encourage those who wish to engage in sport for enjoyment or just to keep fit.

“11,160 students activated their Sport Passes in 2015/16 and this demonstrates the inclusive nature of your approach.  You are also key to our partnership with the City, providing an excellent range of facilities and services which benefit the local community.”

 

Let’s Talk: thanks for taking part

📥  Let's Talk

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Let’s Talk meeting yesterday.

There were 169 of us in the Arts Lecture Theatre with many more of you watching the event online.

Thank you to everyone who came along

Thank you to everyone who came along

Dame Glynis welcomed everyone and introduced the main presentations.

Steve Egan, Vice-President (Implementation), outlined the implications of Brexit for us as a University and the support being offered to colleagues without UK citizenship: “We are an international University, everyone is of equal value and deserves equal respect.

“When I joined I was struck at what a welcoming community this is and as a community we must support our colleagues who may be experiencing a difficult time.”

Richard Brooks, Director of HR, talked about our workforce, emphasising the enormous diversity of our staff and the range of skills they bring to making the University what it is.

Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), outlined the changes facing the sector, including the Higher Education and Research Bill, and how our new Centre for Learning & Teaching has been shaped to ensure we adapt and thrive in this new environment.

There were follow up questions on the presentations and on more general topics including Manvers Street and the role of professional services in our new Strategy.

If you sent your question in advance and it wasn't covered on the day, you will receive a response to the email address you provided.

If you were unable to join us, you can now watch a recording of the meeting on the Let’s Talk webpage.

Please take a minute to give us your feedback on the event so our future meetings can be developed and improved further.

 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) leads University delegation to Jordan

📥  Internationalisation, Representing the University

Last week, I was pleased to spend four days in Amman in Jordan. In the context of the current humanitarian crisis, we have made a long-term commitment to help build capacity and resilience in Jordan in terms of people and systems. This trip was designed to further develop a number of projects focussed on capacity-building that we are hoping to launch with partners in the country.

Such a University-to-country approach is unique at Bath, but then so too is the current predicament of the country: bordering Syria, Palestine, Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Jordan is seen as an island of stability by thousands seeking to escape conflict in their own countries.

An estimated 40% of Jordan’s population are refugees – mainly from Syria, but also from Iraq, Somalia, and Ethiopia - and of the remaining population almost half are Palestinian – often third and fourth generation. Yet while Jordan has received more refugees per capita than any other country in the world, it has few natural resources and faces severe problems of water scarcity, poverty, housing shortages and food insecurity.

The six-person delegation from Bath represented a variety of collaborative research and teaching projects, with a focus on capacity building, whether through education, housing, water or energy.

Over the course of the four days, we met with representatives from Jordan’s four leading research universities, the British Council and British Institute, as well as key United Nations agencies, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which are working in the context of the refugee crisis. Listening to Jordanian colleagues and regional experts in these meetings was crucial in helping us fine-tune and further develop our projects, in order that they will have greater impact.

The enthusiasm with which our projects were received in each meeting not only made me feel proud to be associated with such creative and committed colleagues, but also confirmed to me that our approach is the right one.

For obvious reasons, we can’t go into the details of the projects at such an early stage, but I will keep you posted as our initiatives develop. This is just the beginning of a long-term relationship based on mutual respect and co-operation.

 

Vice-Chancellor’s visit to Hospitality

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📥  Visits to departments

Fresh from a 50th anniversary rugby shirt presentation on 12 October, the Vice-Chancellor was met by Jane Loveys, Director of ahs (Accommodation & Hospitality) and guided through a timeline of photographs showing hospitality outlets, events and staff over the last 50 years.

Wessex Restaurant was packed with colleagues who gave an insight into what happens behind the scenes to keep the University’s bars, eateries and catering at the top of their game.

Jonathan Bowker, Deputy Hospitality Operations Manager introduced a film on 24 hours in Hospitality - from early breakfasts to late night events.  Serving 1,250,000 people a year is a big task and good customer service and team work are essential.

Mike James, Head Chef, said: “When I joined 13 years ago I used think of it as school dinners, now I’m serving royalty and developing our vegan offering - it’s all about keeping the customer happy.”

Anton Gudiak, Bar/Restaurant Manager, said: “We work as a big team - when Accommodation needed a hand on arrivals weekend, everyone from Hospitality pitched in to get things ready.”

The department has a strong focus on ethical values and Patricia Echegaray, Deputy Hospitality Operations Manager, joined Anna Harvey, Team Leader Staff Catering Operations, to explain how they balance this with customer demand. Highlights include the Leave No Trace campaign with munch boxes being served at the end of the day to save food from going to waste, and a fourfold increase in the use of reusable coffee cups.

The Vice Chancellor visits Hospitality services for presentations in Wessex Restaurant.

The Vice Chancellor visits Hospitality services for presentations in Wessex Restaurant.

Piero Stobbia, Deputy Hospitality Operations Manager, and Paul Harvey, Bars & Restaurant Manager, spoke about the growth of hospitality, expansion of the outlets and the Eat & Drink scheme.  There was also a quick plug for the 50th Anniversary beer, now offered in the Parade Bar & Grill and Lime Tree.

Sarah Cashell, ahs Deputy HR Manager, then spoke about ‘delivering the experience’ and there was an opportunity to meet old and new members of staff.

Dame Glynis said: “Seeing the photos from the last 50 years reminds me that there has been a real sea change in hospitality at the University.

“Everything shows you are looking forward to the future.  This is the most important thing for the University - being ahead of the curve, innovating.

“It’s so important to think not just about what we do on the Claverton campus but how we can build on this as we move into the city and London.

“In our 50th year, it is great to know we have the right people delivering our hospitality.”

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VC visits Student Recruitment & Admissions

📥  Visits to departments

Student Recruitment & Admissions has introduced a series of developments since Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions, joined us in 2014.

The department took the opportunity to show Dame Glynis new work underway to support the University’s strategy for recruiting undergraduate and graduate students. After a brief introduction to section heads, Dame Glynis visited each one to find out more detail.

Florin Bisset, Head of Learning Partnerships, talked about developing our links with opportunities for research collaboration between the Department of Health and the Royal Academy of Dance, and launching the new International Foundation Year with Bath College. This provides a route for international students to progress to the University whilst remaining in the same city for the duration of their study.

Dame Glynis then met four of the almost 200 student ambassadors who help the department: Oliver Au-Yeung, Josh Bee, Hannah Crosby and Rebecca Cwiklinski. They explained how they talk to potential and new students at a variety of events including the On Track to Bath programme, encouraging and supporting students to apply to Bath who may not have done otherwise.

Dame Glynis chats with student ambassadors

Dame Glynis chats with student ambassadors

Robbie Pickles, Head of UK & EU Student Recruitment, took the VC from people to hard data with a snapshot of recent work mapping applicant outcomes by location and which will provide the basis for more targeted student recruitment activity in the coming year.

Former President of the SU and Bath Mathematics graduate David Howells, recently appointed as Head of Undergraduate Admissions, then introduced the Vice-Chancellor to the University’s own online paperless undergraduate admissions scheme. Kelly Lockheed, Senior Admissions Administrator, showed Dame Glynis the system in action and talked the Vice Chancellor through the process of making offers whilst ensuring fairness and consistency in admissions decisions.

Dame Glynis was able to share the news that VCG had just approved a proposal to develop the same system for graduate admissions.

The theme of graduate admissions continued with Kim Spencer, Admissions Manager, and Dr Bruce Rayton, School of Management Admissions. Kim described how the team support the graduate admissions process, and detailed the arrangements for the upcoming arrivals weekend to assist induction and create a positive experience for our international students.

Dame Glynis then spent time with department staff and the student ambassadors over lunch: “It’s been wonderful to see you in such good spirits and I’ve learned an enormous amount; it’s been really interesting.

“You are the dynamic heart of our University. Recruiting the right students for the right course with the right experience at the right time has been key to getting us to number 1 in the NSS.

“If you didn’t do what you do so well, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

 

Celebrating our 50th in the US

📥  Alumni event, Internationalisation, Representing the University

I visited San Francisco earlier this month.

Our Chancellor, HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was there to host a reception for our alumni and supporters on the West Coast - the largest gathering we ever held in the US and a fitting start to the international celebrations of our 50th anniversary.

Held at the top of the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco with wonderful views of the Bay, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, the event was energetic and all the attendees really engaged – ranging from alumni of 40 years ago to ones from 2015.  It is amazing what careers Bath graduates create for themselves – influential in so many walks of life.

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While there, I also visited the University of California San Francisco QB3 business incubator to see how they do things.

Even more exciting, I visited the Tesla car factory in Fremont, hosted by our Honorary Graduate Gilbert Passin, and learnt about their amazing recent development.  We talked about placement students going there and I cannot imagine a more exciting opportunity.  I also drove one of the cars – just delicious, so environmentally-friendly, so fast and so stable!  What more can you ask for?

I spoke to several of our great supporters on the visit, including Anthony Lye and Fernando Flores-New, and I also met some new people who have the ability to be tremendously helpful in the future.  Just as an example, I think I should mention that one of our graduates, Randy Newcomb arranged for Humanity United with the British Consulate to give a lunch for several charities who would be interested in our work in Jordan and in South Africa.  I look forward to working with them to further both our research and provision of education in these countries.

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It was a short visit but a rich and productive one.  I thank everyone – in the University and outside of it – for making it so valuable.  I particularly thank our Chancellor who made a special effort to be there.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor